When Instant Death Was Only A Step Away

Total RecallTotal RecallTotal Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.

It's not until you look at the games of the past that you realise how easy the games of today really are.

Nearly every game these days has a "very easy" setting, some like Bayonetta - with its optional one-button mechanic - taking this to extremes. But in decades past, a lot of games prided themselves on their toughness. On how difficult they were to finish.


And while some people will point to games like Contra as examples of this, today I'm going to show you something a little different. I'm going to show you what adventure games were like before Lucasarts revolutionised the genre.

This is Space Quest 3. Before series like Monkey Island ruled adventure games' earth, Sierra's franchises - Police Quest, King's Quest and Space Quest to name a few - were top dogs. If you wanted a combination of puzzles and humour, Sierra is where you went.

You also went there for brutal, instant death, which I think is the toughest, cruellest death of all in video games. If you were too slow to dodge a bullet, that's your own damn fault. But killing you instantly in a game for doing what seemed the right thing to do? That's cold. And it's something these old Sierra games excelled at.

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